Off-highway vehicles adopt ADAS, radar systems

April 13, 2016 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
At the Bauma trade fair for construction vehicles, technology companies like Infineon and TTTech still are a rare phenomenon. But the off-highway vehicles industry is increasingly integrates electronic systems into their products, much like the automotive industry. And the move has just started.

At the Bauma, chipmaker Infineon and real-time Ethernet partner TTTech run a booth where they showcase a reference platform for radar-based assistance systems targeting the off-highway market. The system contains a 24GHz radar and antenna as well as the TC264DA variant of Infineon’s Aurix microprocessor family. The integrated power management chip integrated with the reference platform contains a watchdog timer that monitors the microprocessor. The radar chip is implemented in SiGe technology, but more cost-effective full-CMOS radar chips are already on Infineon’s roadmap.  

Infineon off-road radar reference platform
24Ghz radar reference design for off-highway vehicles

The reference design is customised to serve as a platform for off-highway vehicles, following similar design principles as systems for automated driving in that it has to meet safety standards ISO 26262 or IEC61508, respectively. Ralf Ködel, head of product marketing for body, chassis, safety and ADAS microcontrollers at Infineon, believes that the “electronification” of functions for off-highway vehicles and self-propelled construction machines has just begun. For systems supporting the driver when moving the large, clumsy vehicles, Infineon relies on 24GHz radar. “The biggest problem at construction sites is visibility”, Ködel says. “With all this dust and dirt at the construction site, camera-based sensors quickly become unusable, but radar penetrates the dirt.” The same holds true for vehicles designed to operate in snow-covered environments, he adds.


Use cases for radar-based assistance systems include blind spot detection for cranes, earthmovers, forklifts and similar vehicles. Quantities are not as low as one should think at first sight: Since 2015, all new trucks in the EU must be equipped with radar and camera-based sensor platforms for lane departure warning and an emergency braking assistant, Ködel says. And since off-highway vehicles are built in low quantities with a high number of variants, the reference design can be highly customised via software. In addition, this kind of vehicles frequently is equipped with multiple engines and motors which increases the number of ECUs needed